Discrimination and Racism Against Third Country Nationals Fleeing Ukraine Must End: IOM Director General

Geneva - I am alarmed about verified credible reports of discrimination, violence and xenophobia against third country nationals attempting to flee the conflict in Ukraine. 

Let me be clear, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality or migration status is unacceptable. I deplore any such acts and call on States to investigate this issue and address it immediately. 

Men, women and children from dozens of nationalities, including migrant workers and students living in Ukraine are facing acute challenges as they attempt to leave conflict-affected areas, cross borders into neighboring countries and seek life-saving assistance. 

We are receiving reports of discrimination resulting in heightened risk and suffering. 

Neighboring States need to ensure that all those fleeing Ukraine, are granted unhindered access to territory, regardless of status and in accordance with International Humanitarian Law. Protection and immediate assistance must be provided in a non-discriminatory and culturally appropriate manner, in line with the humanitarian imperative, to all conflict affected people throughout their journey to safety. 

I welcome the European Commission’s proposal to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to assist people fleeing Ukraine and call on Member States to ensure the inclusion of third country nationals in such protection measures. 

In all cases, IOM is committed and ready to assist its Member States and partners to ensure an inclusive response to the humanitarian needs and crisis in Ukraine in line with internationally recognized practices captured by the Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster. 


For More Information, please contact: 

Safa Msehli,    

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions